Doug Brabner
(Page 2 - Port Radium)

From Sawmill Bay we went aboard the motor vessel "Great Bear" and sailed up to Radium. I spent about 14 months operating there, but did not like it as much as B'lodge, one of the reasons being that we had shift work which included the graveyard shift.

Wake of the Great BearApproaching Port Radium

Approaching Port RadiumView from Bunkhouse

The only names I remember from the RC Signals station at Port Radium are Bob Morris, who was Sgt/. OIC of the station; Bob Gagnier, a Sigs Op who was my room-mate; and a guy names Jack, another army op. whose last name I cannot remember. We had some pretty good wing-dings up there also.

Sgt Morris and familySignals Station

Jack played the saxophone in our little 4-piece band. Sometimes he played some "blue" notes and when he did that we laughed our heads off. I played the drums. We sometimes practiced in the station warehouse, sometimes in the station itself. I used a large metal washtub as the drum and rolled up pages of newspaper for the sticks. I made a little five-inch reel-to-reel tape recording of one of our practice sessions and up to last year I know I had still got it, after 45 years - 1957 to 2002, not bad eh!!

Some weekends when Jack or I were on the graveyard shift, and were on a wing-ding or playing in the dance band, we would call up Fort Simpson and tell them we would not be available for our hourly aviation reports, nor our 6-hourly synopsis reports. The boys at Simpson were a good bunch of lads and they would tell us, "not to worry". They usually "made up" our reports and sent them in to XD.

When I was playing the drums I used to sit at the left edge of the stage, near the steps. Every now and then a miner would come and sit on the steps, pull out his bottle and offer me some.

Bob Morris used to make home brew beer. It was potent stuff. Some of our wing-dings were held in the Station. I had a Seabreeze reel-to-reel tape recorder and record player. We would have lots of 78 RPM records. At one of our parties, as the evening progressed Bob Gagnier would get merrier and merrier and he would put a record on, listen for a few seconds, take it off and say, "I don't like this" and he would proceed to break it over his head. Eventually we all got into the act. There were broken records all over the floor.

Twice a year, during freeze-up and break-up we had about seven weeks of "nothing in and nothing out". The C.W. traffic at Radium was very much less than at B'lodge. We basically had our hourly aviation OBs reports and the six hourly synopses to send to Simpson. Air traffic and boat traffic on the lake was minimal. I quit Radium in late 1957.

I did quite a bit of Ham Radio from the station warehouse in Radium. I think only VE8RA and myself - VE8OJ were active there. I spent my time on C.W. I remember 8RA had a Heathkit rig, but I forget the type.

Much water has passed under the bridge since then. I have been around the world a couple of times and worked on 4 continents. I have six grand-kids and another one due tonight as I write this. I once tried to solo sail around the world but failed due to injury only 250 miles out.

A couple of years ago I saw a documentary on CBC TV about Port Radium. They were emphasizing the long term radiation effects it had on the Indians who used to manually carry sacks of ore. Then last year I saw another documentary, and this one showed the complete dismantling of the whole Radium complex. Nothing was left. I felt so sad watching that because I had enjoyed myself there and have so many pleasant memories of those times.

Doug Brabner

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